P19433: Plastic Bottle Chip Melter
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Build & Test Prep

Table of Contents

Team Vision for Build & Test Prep Phase

During this phase, the team planned to wrap up loose ends from the last phase of MSD I, including installing the new heaters, building a vent for the melter, finalize the 3D model and complete 2D drawings for the machine shop, select and order material for the mold as well as the door for the frame, and meet with Gary to discuss our designs.

We were able to complete most of the things we planned to for this phase. The installation of the new heaters has been delayed due to an issue with the timing of the order. We had planned to have ordered the heaters before winter break and received them by the start of the new semester, however the order was not processed until the start of the new semester so we are now waiting for the heaters to be shipped. We will continue to work on other subsystems while we wait for the heaters to arrive.

At the end of MSD I, the team was still working on some tasks that were not able to be completed by the end of the semester. During the first few weeks of MSD II we have been working to complete the leftover tasks. Before the winter break, we were able to secure an additional $350 from the MSD Office to add to our budget which allowed us to purchase the new heaters. The team also went back to the ER's and CR's to ensure all requirements were updated to meet the new HDPE material and the reduced 6"x 6" mold design.

Current State:

Electrical Updates

Insulation Testing

After the mineral wool insulation was cut for each side of the frame and installed, the melter was ran with without any plastic chips and then with HDPE chips to test the performance of the insulation.
 Insulation Testing Data

Insulation Testing Data

 Insulation Testing Results

Insulation Testing Results

As seen previously in the Detailed Design Review, the melter was ran for 80 minutes and reaching only 195°C when the desired temperature range of 200-260°C. The second test involved testing the HDPE chips to verify the known melting temperature and capabilities. One side of insulation was removed every seven to eight minutes in order to continue compressing the mold as the chips melted. Running the melter for approximately 80 minutes resulted in temperatures comparable to the first test, considering the time insulation was removed to compress the mold. The test resulted in a thick sheet of melted HDPE that was difficult to remove from the mold, but verified the chips will melt in the current melter. The images below show the HDPE sheet that split into two halves. After the installment of the new heaters, the team will perform additional testing using McLube 860 mold release.

HDPE Sheet 1 View 1

HDPE Sheet 1 View 1

HDPE Sheet 2 View 1

HDPE Sheet 2 View 1

HDPE Sheet 2 View 2

HDPE Sheet 2 View 2

Current Models and Drawings

Below is a picture of the current melter device.

Current Melter

Current Melter

Current Melter

Current Melter

We will be removing some of the steel tubing and moving it to new locations for the new melter design. This will allow the team to reduce costs and wait time in purchasing new materials. Below is part of the drawing package that will be used to rebuild the melter frame.

Frame Rebuild

Frame Rebuild

Current Melter

Current Melter

New Melter

New Melter

The new melter, as shown below will compress up from a jack mounted on the bottom. A new jack support system with steel beams will be built and attached to one of the current mold plates, again repurposing parts of the current design to save money and resources. The new jack support is designed to keep the mold stable and aligned for uniform compression.

New Melter

New Melter

New Melter

New Melter

We also designed a new, smaller mold for testing the ability to melt plastic instead of focusing on a larger product. The new mold will produce a 6"x6" flat plastic sheet (HDPE). It is comprised of 3 separate sections that will come apart for easier removal of the plastic product from the mold. Alignment brackets will be welded to the bottom mold plate to align the mold sides and the top block will be set on top the plastic to be compressed when the jack is used.

New Mold

New Mold

Test Plan

During this phase, the team revised the Test Plan Procedures adding specific details including:

The purpose of the test procedures are to verify and record the performance of the melter to ensure all ER's are fulfilled. Important characteristics such as heating, production, equipment, product quality, compression, and safety will be tested.

Test Plan Summary

A summary of the Test Plans can be found here. The document provides:

The team will utilize this document heavily throughout the remainder of MSD II to test and record the data collected. The Team plans to have all remaining items ordered, all changes to the frame complete, and to collect all necessary tools and equipment for testing by the end of Phase 6.

Risk and Problem Tracking

Risk Assessment

At the end of MSD I, the team and customers changed the scope of the project from melting PET to melting HDPE due to the material properties. The team's request for additional funds was approved which allowed the team to order the new heaters. The size of the mold was also decreased to focus on proof of concept. The team's high risks from the previous phase are being resolved, but the team will continue to reevaluate risks throughout each phase.

 Phase 5 Risk Assessment

Phase 5 Risk Assessment

The working Risk Assessment document can be found here

Problem Tracking

The team utilized a six step Problem Solving Process (PSP) to evaluate risks that have manifested into problems. This process will allow the team to identify problems and create a structured plan to resolve the issues.

 Problem Solving Process Diagram

Problem Solving Process Diagram

 Problem Tracking Phase 5

Problem Tracking Phase 5

The working Problem Tracking document can be found here

Design Review Materials

Plans for next phase

Heading into the Subsystem Build and Test Phase the team is going to work with Gary from the machine shop on updating the frame of the machine to match our 3D Designs, as well as get the electrical system up and running. Mechanically, this will include cutting some of the crossbars and re-welding them into the correct locations, installing the jack assembly and the door. Electrically, this will include installing and testing the heaters when they arrive, installing the SSR, the micro controller, and the LCD screen.
Phase 5 Gantt Chart

Phase 5 Gantt Chart

Phase 6 Gantt Chart

Phase 6 Gantt Chart

Three Week Plans for Team Members at the End of Phase 5:


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